November 3rd, 2007
05:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Edwards campaign: Clinton using gender as 'a shield'

The Edwards campaign said Clinton should not be held to a different standard because of her gender.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - One day after former Sen. John Edwards said that Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton should not be held to a different standard because of her gender, the Edwards campaign unleashed a stinging statement that said Clinton is "disingenuously playing the victim card" by bringing up her gender in recent campaign stops and fundraising emails.

Kate Michelman, the former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a senior adviser to the Edwards campaign, posted a brief essay about Clinton on Saturday at the liberal group blog

"At one minute the strong woman ready to lead, the next, she's the woman under attack, disingenuously playing the victim card as a means of trying to avoid giving honest, direct answers to legitimate questions," Michelman wrote of Clinton.

On Thursday at Clinton's alma mater, the all-female Wellesley College, the Democratic frontrunner said that "this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics." Those comments came after the Clinton campaign accused her rivals of "piling on" during last week's Democratic debate.

Michelman, who endorsed Edwards in January, said that women "know better than to use our gender as a shield when the questions get too hot."

After a campaign event in South Carolina on Friday, Edwards was asked by CNN about Clinton injecting her gender into the presidential dialogue.

"I think that Senator Clinton ought to be held to the same standard that every other presidential candidate is held to," Edwards said. "And that standard is to not engage in double talk. To be straight and honest with people."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Edwards • South Carolina
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "Bubba," she blubbered, "make those nasty boys and nastier tomboys stop picking on me!"

    November 3, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |

    If Hillary wants to use gender as a convenience to dodge the issues that the people of America need to know about, let her. She is entitled to use any and all convenient smokescreens she can find or create, after all, she is a Democratic Politician, and Eleanor Roosevelt tells her to do this.

    November 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |

    I'd say something here, but my wife won't let me.

    November 3, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. TheInsider

    Flat broke. Polling 9% in SC. THIRD in Iowa. Not even a factor in NH. He's in the, "I'll say and do anything", phase of his, "campaign", and he is.

    November 3, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Daniel, NY

    A new general election poll released this morning has John Edwards destroying his Republican opponents nationally. Link.

    November 3, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Ro Houle, Fort Mohave, Az

    Mr Edwards, Try using your intellect to show us your ability to be the next president and stop badmouthing the other incumbents. Why is it necessary during election time to try and cast shadows on the other incumbents and you never did it before. All of the presidential hopefuls need to know that it turns the american people against you. It really does.

    November 3, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    Clinton is no worse than white men screaming reverse discrimination; blacks screaming racial discrimination; Hispanics screaming racial discrimination; fat people screaming body discrimination; people over 40 screaming age discrimination...SO WHAT!!!!!

    They did pile on Hillary in the debates and she did bend, but did not break. She will still be the nonimee.

    November 3, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. G, Margate, FL

    John Edwards could not even help John Kerry win his home state and now he thinks he can win it all, give me a break John Edwards go back home and retire from politic
    President Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs

    November 3, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. DT Wisconsin

    Conservatives have observed this a while ago...but somehow it only comes to light (on CNN) when liberals say it.


    November 3, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Jim Bremer

    Edwards can't win !? Say something new.

    Edwards already sent feelers to the Clinton asking if he could be the Veep. Having been rebuffed by Clinton, he is trying to earn his keep by becoming Obama's Veep.

    Pity it won't work.

    November 3, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Veronica Bloom, Jacksonville, Florida

    "this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics."

    This is not using a 'gender card', this is speaking the truth! If anything, it's the 'American Card'.

    These boys are hitting below the belt. Because of this, Obama has lot my vote.

    It's one thing to show a contrast between your opponents and another to use NEGATIVE attacks.

    November 3, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    John, the only whiner in this race is you!!! You're soooo far behind in the polls that most people are going to see your constant attacks on Hillary for what they are: an act of desperation.

    Furthermore, her poll numbers didn't suffer as a result of Tuesday's debate. Actually, they went up a little bit. Read it and weep:

    November 3, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Leo, VA

    Margaret, FL..
    "President Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs"

    Maybe Hillary for 8 years is too much, but I totally agree that for now she is the only one who is capable to be the President of the United States. Edwards and even Obama lost credibility considering their latest behaviors (lets not even refer to their ideas because they spend more time badmouthing Clinton instead of telling what they will do).

    November 3, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. joab,charlotte,NC

    This makes Obama the winner....Thanx John. I would put it this way

    Top to down
    1. Obama


    3 Clinton



    10 Edward!

    November 3, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. athomas, ny, ny

    A new general election poll released this morning has John Edwards destroying his Republican opponents nationally. Link.

    Posted By Daniel, NY : November 3, 2007 2:26 pm

    The link only shows that John Edwards vs McCain & Romney. What about Edwards vs Giuliani? What about Hillary vs Giuliani?

    Like it or not, it is Hillary & Giuliani, the front runners, that most peeople are interested in. As the poll shows below, Hillary will beat Giulian in the next election. All she needs to become the next president to win one more state than John Kerry. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that Hillary is leading Rudy in 3 swing states that John Kerry lost ot Bush: Pennsylvania (48%-42%), Ohio (46%-40%), Florida (46%-43%).

    Another key fact: In all three states, sizable majorities say they're not too likely or not at all likely to change their minds, leading Quinnipiac to conclude that her "support appears to be as deep as it is wide." Quinnipiac also notes that Hillary is the only Dem to beat Rudy in all three states.

    November 3, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. John, Detroit, Michigan

    frankly, isn't it true that presidential politics is an "all-boys" club? Her saying that isn't using gender as a defense. It's just the truth... Also, isn't it also slightly sexist of him to twist her words so that it seems she's trying to seem like a victim as a woman? He's trying to portray her as some "weepy woman," when her performance in the debate suggested otherwise (6 + Tim Russert against Hillary....). If gender isn't an issue, then why is he trying to make it one?

    Edwards is becoming more and more unlikeable with every update on the ticker. Some of his attacks are just getting revolting.

    November 3, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Marko, Portland, OR

    Viva Hillary!! 2008 and 2012! Poor John. He knows he is not going to win so he's doing whatever. He knows Hillary is going to win and he's mad at her because, at the end, he's not the one people want. I don't even understand why he decided to run again after the embarrasing defeat of 2004. Bye bye! John.

    November 3, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Justin/Denver Co.

    Its pretty pathetic to see dems resorting to Rovian attacks on Hillary. This is just like the "Al Gore says he invented the internet" stuff Rove pulled in 00. Al never said he invented the internet, and Hillary has not cried about her gender, or being picked on by the "Good ol' Boys".

    However, if they repeat it enough...people will believe it, just like with Al. Its juts amazing how people in this country foster their own ignorance as if it were good.

    November 3, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Ken, San Diego, CA

    Gender card?

    That's funny.

    How many female presidents have we had?

    How many female presidential candidates have we had?

    Enough said...

    November 3, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. June, Florida

    Gender card ? Women card ? I believe Elizabeth, like lot of us, will do the same thing. Teach, educate, encourage and guide our daughters tough and strong to face today's world. She never plays gender card. She is A WOMAN !!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Ken, San Diego, CA

    More misleads from "noble" John Edwards. Here is the excerpt of a press conference with Hillary Clinton (from the Boston Globe). And she's using a "gender shield" how?

    "I don't think they're piling on because I'm a woman," Clinton told reporters after filing her papers to appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot. "I think they're piling on because I'm winning."

    Clinton, who is well ahead in polls in New Hampshire and nationally, said she understands that "that's what happens in campaigns." Then, in the same breath, she declared her toughness and also made a joke about gender roles.

    "I anticipate it's going to get even hotter, and if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen," she said. "And I'm very much at home in the kitchen."

    November 3, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. Michelle M. LaCrosse, WI

    No gender bias, eh' John?

    Well, actions speak louder than words....

    Based on the candidates actions and behavior over the last week or so, they only added more fuel to the fire and proved Hillary Clintons very point.

    Turn to any news station (except FOX, of course) and listen to the buzz and dissapointment over the growing 'hog pile' on Hillary Clinton.

    We are all getting tired of hearing what the other candidates think about Hillary Clinton. As if she is were the largest threat to our nation...

    Based on what I've seen so far, it seems that Clinton bashing is all that the other candidates have to offer...

    I don't know about the rest of the country, but I am setting much higher standards for selecting a new leader this time around.

    November 3, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Aaron

    Hillary is shrill, greed driven fraud, who is being exposed for who and what she truly is. She cant stand the heat. During Her short political career she has been protected from such cofrontation because she cant handle it...poor poor little Hillary.....better get used to it, little girl, its gonna get worse. teh end is near for your campaign......when you lose in Iowa the wheels will come completely off

    November 3, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. P. Sherman, Ontario Canada

    Who says she is playing the gender card? Her democratic opponents who are trailing? The republicans?
    I don't see where she has done this at all. During that last debate she stood up well against the obvious attacks on her and especially the scrutiny that Russert wanted to put on her while not doing the same to the other male candidates. Does he have as bad a bias against her as he seemed to display that evening?

    November 3, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Eric, NY, NY

    Kate Michelman has, like the column states, endorsed Edwards months ago so no wonder she is engaged in the same type of negative attacks that the candidate that she supports has.

    November 3, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
1 2 3